News Releases

National Health Research Conference Champions Proactive Solutions for Emerging Healthcare Threats

For Release Upon Receipt - December 1, 2023

St. Augustine

St. Augustine, December 1, 2023 – At the forefront of the 2023 National Health Research Conference (NHRC), held on November 17 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain, was a clarion call for Small Island Developing States, such as Trinidad and Tobago, to adopt a proactive stance against new and emerging threats. The urgency of this message was compellingly delivered by Professor Ramnarine, Deputy Principal of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), to a critical audience of policymakers, researchers, healthcare professionals, and public health officers. Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, a recent study underscored that the likelihood of a pandemic akin to COVID-19 occurring is around 2% annually - a risk too significant to ignore.

 Under the theme 'Healthcare for the Future: Emerging Threats and Sustainable Solutions,' this pivotal conference, a joint venture between the Caribbean Centre for Health Systems Research and Development and The UWI's Faculty of Medical Sciences, emerged as a vital platform for tackling the healthcare challenges in a post-COVID-19 era. Through its collaboration, the aim is to bolster healthcare systems through local research, sharing vital findings, fostering a research-oriented culture, enhancing research capabilities, encouraging collaborations, and influencing policy-making.

 The conference shed light on crucial health concerns, including COVID-19, Emerging Diseases, Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, Clinical/Laboratory Studies, Mental Health, and Veterinary Studies. Professor Indar Ramnarine underlined the complexity of these challenges, ranging from drug-resistant infections to cybersecurity threats in medical systems, necessitating innovative and sustainable responses. The UWI, St. Augustine, he noted, is actively engaging with diverse partners – spanning Government, Academia, Private Sector, Civil Society, and International Development Partners – to drive the implementation of sustainable solutions.

 Professor Hariharan Seetharaman, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, underscored the conference's significance as a crucible for not only discussing looming challenges but also for brainstorming resilient and sustainable solutions. He stressed the critical need for ongoing vigilance and health surveillance at national, regional, and international levels.

 The conference also featured illustrious speakers like The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, international guests, and respected local experts. A highlight was a thought-provoking session on 'A.I. and Healthcare' by Dr. Wayne Frederick, an Honorary Graduate of The UWI. In addition, the event celebrated research excellence, bestowing awards for lifetime achievements, outstanding early career and student researchers, the best presentations, and the delegates' choice for the best poster, thereby recognizing and encouraging excellence in health research.

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 Feature Speaker, Dr Wayne A.I. Frederick, Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery, Howard University delivers his presentation on A.I. and Healthcare at the National Health Research Conference 2023.

Audience looks on at the National Health Research Conference 2023

 About The University of the West Indies

 The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for the past 75 years.

 From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

 The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

 The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

 2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University.

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